Nurses Tell All! Salaries, Benefits, and Whether They'd Do It Again

Carol Peckham


November 17, 2015

In This Article

Are Nurses Unhappy With Their Careers?

Only 60% of APNs, 56% of RNs, and 48% of LPNs would choose nursing as a career again, percentages that are even less than the 64% of physicians who reported in the Medscape 2015 Physician Compensation Report that they would make medicine their profession again.

Only about a quarter (26%) of nurses identified their relationship with patients as the most rewarding aspect of their job, which is a lower percentage for this category than that reported by both male and female physicians (32% and 37%, respectively) in the 2015 Medscape Physician Compensation report. Only 22% reported being good at what they do as their highest professional reward, and just 18% cited "proud of being a nurse."

Nurses are even less satisfied with their practice settings; overall, only a quarter of nurses would choose their own setting again. This percentage varied by nursing group but remained low; about a third (32%) of APNs, 22% of RNs, and 12% of LPNs would choose the same practice settings again. Forty-three percent of nurses in non–hospital-based medical offices would choose that same setting again. The next favorite settings were in public health (38%), faculty in academic settings (37%), and hospitals—only about third for both inpatient (34%) and outpatient care (32%). Only a quarter of nurses in college services, military or government setting, and long-term care would choose those settings again.

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that every percentage point increase in nurse turnover costs an average hospital about $300,000 each year.[22] It also found that hospital executives rated excessive paperwork, increased patient load, and inadequate staffing as the top three factors for nurse dissatisfaction and turnover. Inadequate pay and physician behavior were fourth and fifth. In spite of these responses, however, executives did not find nurse dissatisfaction and turnover a very significant problem. In another recent study, lower autonomy and less support from peers were also major factors for nurses who planned to leave their current jobs.[23] The PricewaterhouseCoopers report had a number of recommendations for improving nurse satisfaction, including more flexible scheduling, personalized ergonomics, shared governance, and nurse-led quality initiatives.

The importance of nursing appears to be recognized by government and organizational leaders, but whether action will be taken to improve working conditions and compensation remains to be seen.


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